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Brother Stafford

In defence of a perfect traslation

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I have been re-reading "Bible Wines" by William Patton (pub. 1871).  It is an absolutely wonderful explanation of the use of the word wine in scripture.  He explains the difference between alcoholic wine and nonalcoholic wine.  That is a subject for another thread.  However, on page 46 (of the paperback), he states,

Quote

"We would not distrust, much less weaken, confidence in the Word of God.  We would, however, remind the reader that ONLY THE ORIGINAL TEXT IS INSPIRED; that no translation, much less no mere human interpretation, is ultimate authority."

(All caps is in the original test by the author) He expresses such things in a few other places as well.

I actually felt my heart sink when I read this. His writings are so well done that it boggles my mind that such a learned man could make such a basic mistake.  Indeed, countless others have made the same illogical mistake. In my view, if this view were to be true, it would mean one of three things:

  • 1. God lied when He said that He has preserved His word and that all of His words are pure. (Psalms 12:6-7, Proverbs 30:5-6, Mark 13:31)
  • 2. His originally inspired word is hidden somewhere in the world, perfectly preserved but inaccessible and unknowable to us, and that all translations contain errors.
  • 3. His words are still perfectly preserved in the copies in the original languages, but that one must possess a perfect command of those languages in order to know the word of God.

Am I missing something?  It seems like such a basic Logic 101 type of error.  If no translation or interpretation is the ultimate authority, what prevents anyone, at any time, from bringing any passage, whatsoever, into doubt?

Edited by Brother Stafford

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Good morning Brother Stafford

This is the Spiritual Darkness that is crushing this world(even those who profess to know Christ).  When I read that “your heart sank”, I thought of the words....
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

This happens to all of us: It happened to me a few years ago on another site, while discussing 1John 5:7, with “John of Japan”(someone who claimed to be the grandson of John R Rice), who told me that he had personally spoken to someone who had actually seen the GK.  copies of 1John, that are being stored somewhere; And that he was convinced that the KJV's record of 1John 5:7, is wrong!!!

This took all the wind out of my sails and I had to leave that site, once and for all.
But praise the Lord, He restored my faith.

As we find in 2 Peter 1:, it doesn’t matter if we hear “God’s Voice Himself, speaking from heaven, telling us that the Bible is wrong..” We have a more sure word of prophecy, in the Bible that we hold in our hands, than anywhere else.

Keep on trusting God’s Word over ANYTHING!

 

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I can tell you right now that my Greek and Hebrew is better than my English when it comes to Grammar. Sometimes an "exegetical treatment" with "analysis of Greek forms" results in the passage being harder to understand than a straightforward reading of what the Bible suggests, that is sign of problems. For instance . . .the Hebrew word for "wine" is (yayin) -- and the Greek word for it is (oinos). We also find fermented juice (chamar), and (shakar) which refers to STRONG alcoholic drinks; however, they all fall into the category of fermented juice. Alcoholic beverages sold in the market today is NOT the same as it was during ancient times. We cannot just depend upon the original language alone; we have to examine the *historical context* in which it was written. The wine in biblical times were either syrup based or in the form of a paste; this was mixed with water to dilute it so as to avoid the chance of being intoxicated. So they ended up with around 15-20% water, to 1% fermented juice. You can still become inebriated if you consumed large amounts of it. The pagans in ancient times would drink wine in excess as a way to communicate with their pagan deities. But in any case. whether just plain juice or not; it is up to the person to use discretion and discernment in all such scenarios. And as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:20 . . .

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)

God Bless!

Edited by (Omega)
Additional Comments and Grammar

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13 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

I have been re-reading "Bible Wines" by William Patton (pub. 1871).  It is an absolutely wonderful explanation of the use of the word wine in scripture.  He explains the difference between alcoholic wine and nonalcoholic wine.  That is a subject for another thread.  However, on page 46 (of the paperback), he states,

(All caps is in the original test by the author) He expresses such things in a few other places as well.

I actually felt my heart sink when I read this. His writings are so well done that it boggles my mind that such a learned man could make such a basic mistake.  Indeed, countless others have made the same illogical mistake. In my view, if this view were to be true, it would mean one of three things:

  • 1. God lied when He said that He has preserved His word and that all of His words are pure. (Psalms 12:6-7, Proverbs 30:5-6, Mark 13:31)
  • 2. His originally inspired word is hidden somewhere in the world, perfectly preserved but inaccessible and unknowable to us, and that all translations contain errors.
  • 3. His words are still perfectly preserved in the copies in the original languages, but that one must possess a perfect command of those languages in order to know the word of God.

Am I missing something?  It seems like such a basic Logic 101 type of error.  If no translation or interpretation is the ultimate authority, what prevents anyone, at any time, from bringing any passage, whatsoever, into doubt?

Well, Brother, I think as a Baptist Bible Translators Institute Graduate I bring a unique view to this discussion, and so I will give my thoughts.

God's promise to preserve his word does not promise a perfect translation to every language and people group, how many people groups around the world do not have Bible's in their language? There are many languages that the only bible's they have are critical texts bibles, for example in Uganda, the Lugbara people only have a critical text bible. In light of this fact, it would be inconsistent to say that God's promise to preserve his word is not true.  God's promise to preserve his word, actually was made in reference to Hebrew and Greek, Jesus referred to the idea of no "jot" or "title" would pass until all is fulfilled. "jot" and "title" are references to very small parts of Hebrew alphabetical characters. Personally, my belief is that God inspired his words in Hebrew and Greek and that his promise to preserve his word is in those languages. Now, any accurate translation of the Hebrew and Greek Inspired texts carries the same weight and authority as the Hebrew and Greek texts. In a very technical sense of the word, an English translation is not "Inspired", but it I believe is still the "living" word of God. In fact that's what life is, when God created Adam and Eve, he breathed into them the breath of life, the word spire, has the idea of respiration or breath, so God breathed into the original writers his living words and had Holy men of God write these words. 

Now, let me just say, it's not really possible to have a "perfect" translation from one language to any other language. Now before you all gasp and accuse me of heresy, I am NOT saying that the KJV has errors in it. However, there are many places where translations can be accurate, but they are not necessarily clear because languages have limitations. 

Let me give you an example using Spanish,

Yo tengo dos hermanos y dos hermanas, me encanta ellas pero no me encanta ellos.

In English, this literally translates to: I have two brothers and two sisters, I love them, but I hate them. 

Now the above translation is accurate on all points, but it still fails to fully communicate the Spanish meaning, this is because Spanish has a feature that English does not have, in Spanish nouns have an assigned gender, when using a 3rd person pronoun (them) the pronoun has to agree in gender with the noun. In our case above, the English translation though 100% accurate, is not clear. However, in Spanish, it's clear that the them that are loved is actually the sisters and the ones hated are actually the brothers. So we could say the English is accurate, but does it really communicate "perfectly" the Spanish? No, it doesn't.  that being said, I think all 3 of your points are not logical.

1. God has promised to preserve his words, but the truth is there are still languages that don't have God's word in their language, God's promise for preservation does not require God's word in every language. 

2. God's word is for all practical purposes inaccessible to people who don't have the Bible in their language

3. I'm not sure how you could possibly say someone has to have perfect knowledge of Hebrew to know God's word, I mean... there are plenty of English speaking people who don't have a perfect working knowledge of English. this is no way makes God's promise to preserve his words true. 

So personally, I think your 3 points of concern about Bro Patton's position are actually inconsistent and self-refuting, what I mean is, all the problems you see with those 3 points, apply to your own position. the truth is even from the KJV Inspired position, there are still people who don't have access to God's word in their own language,  there are still people who don't have access to the word of God, and even people who do have access to it, many of them do not have a perfect command of their own languages. So really all of the concerns that you mention about Patton's position apply equally to your own position.

Disclaimer, I do not believe the KJV has any errors in it. I am not arguing to defend modern bible versions. 

the truth of the matter is, the original inspired Hebrew and Greek words that God gave are the final authority, and any translation in any language only carries that same authority in so much that it accurately translates the original Hebrew and Greek words. 

 

 

Edited by Jordan Kurecki

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I think the presupposition that in order for God's promise of preservation of his word to be true, that every person has to have a perfect copy of God's word in their own language is not a true presupposition.

Where does God promise that every single language on the earth will have a perfect translation of the scriptures? Because I don't recall reading that? 

I think we can agree that God always does what's best, and the people who need God's word will get what God wants them to have. some people are not ready for the word of God, and some people are still waiting for someone to take God's word to them and give it to them in a language they can understand.

My personal heart and burden are to take the word of God to people who don't have it, It's possible that I may do Bible translation in the future, But does God's promise of preservation mean the first translation I do will be "perfect"? Does God's promise of preservation necessitate that the people group I work with has a "perfect" bible? 

I think the bigger problem is when people use modern bibles based on Hebrew and Greek texts that have been edited by heretics and rationalists and those who have been influenced by them. the bigger problem today with Bibles is translations being done from corrupt texts. 

and then of course the translation philosophies used are not faithful to God's word either. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

I think the presupposition that in order for God's promise of preservation of his word to be true, that every person has to have a perfect copy of God's word in their own language is not a true presupposition.

Where does God promise that every single language on the earth will have a perfect translation of the scriptures? Because I don't recall reading that?

I agree with the fact that God never promised every person have a perfect copy of God's word in their own language.   I think you're reading things into my original post that I did not write.

14 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

3. His words are still perfectly preserved in the copies in the original languages, but that one must possess a perfect command of those languages in order to know the word of God.

 

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9 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

I agree with the fact that God never promised every person have a perfect copy of God's word in their own language.   I think you're reading things into my original post that I did not write.

 

With all due respect Brother Stanford I don’t think I am reading into your post.  

However if you think I did maybe you could clarify. 

 

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